Money woes delay Mojito Pointe progress

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In just six weeks from now, local residents may start seeing construction on the horizon when crossing over Lake Charles.

Last April area voters gave approval to the construction of Mojito Pointe resort and casino. But since then, there's no evidence of change on the property. According to the resort's website, construction was due to begin prior to December of last year, but that did not happen. Executive director at the port of Lake Charles Bill Rase says financial knots are not quite tied.

"I think the financing is basically done," said Rase. "it's the terms and conditions on which you can get the financing that are probably the major hold ups."

February 18 is the deadline for Creative Casinos and its CEO Dan Lee. But will that deadline be met?

"We think we will, we have the permits we need," said Lee. "All the different permits and it's a matter of pulling together the money."

Lee says they've received recent commitments from several banks and institutions, but they're still seeking more to reach the 400 million dollar mark.

"I don't want to start construction until I know I have the money to finish it," said Lee.

Once the funds are available, ground breaking can begin.

"We'll do that as soon as we have the money to finish what we start," said Lee. "With all the legal work and everything else, we probably won't have everything pulled together until three weeks from now. Somewhere between the third week in January and the third week in February is when we would start construction."

If the deadline is not met, the license can be pulled by the gaming board, or Creative Casinos can request an extension. The board has granted extensions in the past, but it's never a guarantee. But both Rase and Lee expect the construction to proceed.

"We're real optimistic that it's going to happen," said Rase. "With L'Auberge being what it is in a cornerstone, with Mojito Pointe adding on to that, it will definitely make lake Charles a real resort destination for people to look at. Other than Las Vegas, there will be more amenities here than anywhere else."

"We're doing our best to meet the deadline," said Lee.  "It's a pretty complicated project, but we're doing our best and I think we probably will meet the deadline."

Lee says the first step is building a road to the actual location so that the construction crew and equipment can access the property.

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